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You Are Here Sunflower Magazine > Sunflower Briefs

Sunflower Magazine

Sunflower Briefs
February 2014

USDA: Sunflower Production Down 27% in 2013

The past growing season was an unusual one for sunflower producers, and thatís reflected in the USDA annual sunflower production report. The January-released report estimates 2013 U.S. sunflower production at 2.03 billion lbs, down 27% from 2012 and the lowest level since 1989. The U.S. average yield per acre decreased by 134 lbs from 2012, down to 1,379 lbs. Planted area, at 1.58 million acres, was18% below the prior year and was the second lowest since 1976. Area harvested decreased 20% from the 2012 season, to 1.47 million acres.

South Dakota became the nationís top sunflower-producing state in 2013, passing the traditional leader, North Dakota. South Dakotaís crop came in at nearly 997 million lbs, compared to North Dakotaís output of 608 million. North Dakotaís 2012 sunflower production totaled nearly 1.5 billion lbs. Significantly lower planted acreage in North Dakota ó due in many locales to a wet spring ó played a big role in the stateís production decline.

Along with South Dakotaís uptick, there were other bright spots in the USDA report. Production of nonoil (confection) sunflower was estimated at 386 million lbs in 2013, a slight increase from 2012. Also, nonoil area harvested was up 6% from 2012.

For more on the USDA report, including a state-by-state breakdown, visit

Sunflower Research Forum Draws Good Crowd

More than 140 researchers, growers and industry representatives attended the National Sunflower Associationís 36th annual Sunflower Research Forum held January 8-9 in Fargo, N.D. Researchers from several states and Manitoba presented a total of 22 papers and 15 posters. Attendees heard presentations about the latest research on weeds, insects, disease and new varieties of sunflower. All presentations are available on the NSA website,

Research Funding Requests Total $500,000+

The National Sunflower Association received 27 research project requests for 2014 totaling $530,120. The NSA Research Committee met in early January to review the proposals and make recommendations for the NSA Board of Directors. The board will make final decisions on funding during its annual spring meeting in late February.

Submitted project proposals include ones on irrigation timing, pest management, and studies of diseases such as Phomopsis, downy mildew and Rhizopus head rot.

Continue Checking Moisture of Binned Seeds

Numerous producers have at least part of this past yearís sunflower crop stored in bins. Because much of the crop was harvested late and it was a wetter-than-normal harvest, producers should continue keeping an eye on moisture levels of stored seeds. The maximum recommended moisture content for the stored sunflower is 9.5% through the winter months. Make it a habit to check stored grain weekly.

For more storage tips, visit

Sunflower Pathology Working Group Formed

As discussed in an article in the January issue of The Sunflower, a sunflower pathology working group has now been formed to help design and facilitate disease-management strategies. The group is funded through a North Central Region-Integrated Pest Management (NCIPM) Center grant and consists of USDA personnel and Extension pathologists from sunflower-producing states primarily in the U.S. Great Plains region. One of the groupís first activities will be to identify the greatest needs for information relating to disease identification and IPM decision-making and the best way to share that information. The group is distributing an online survey that will help determine priorities. Click here to view and complete the survey.

For more information, contact NDSU plant pathologist Sam Markell at or University of Nebraska pathologist Bob Harveson at

Upper Midwest Drainage Design Workshops

The annual Upper Midwest Extension Drainage Design Workshops are being held in four locations in 2014. The first, Sioux Falls, S.D., took place in late January. Upcoming ones include Wahpeton, N.D., on February 11-12; Crookston, Minn., on March 5-6; and Owatonna, Minn., on March 18-19.

The workshops are a collaborative effort among the University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University and South Dakota State University Extension. The two-day workshops focus on planning and designing of agricultural tile drainage systems to meet both profitability and environmental objectives. The course content is taught in a hands-on manner with lots of discussion time. For more details and/or to register, click here.

2014 Summer Seminar in Deadwood June 24-26

This yearís National Sunflower Association Summer Seminar will be held at The Lodge in Deadwood, S.D., on June 24-26. This is the same location where the 2011 Summer Seminar took place. Check for details on the NSA website ó ó as they become available.

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